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First Cut: A Season in the Anatomy Lab
     

First Cut: A Season in the Anatomy Lab

by Albert Howard Carter, Maureen Troy (Designed by)
 
This book is a fascinating look at the body's intricacies. Writing from a humanist's perspective on a closed, sometimes taboo scientific discipline, Howard Carter gives us a magical tour of our unseen selves.

Ever since his own father dedicated his body to medical research, Carter has been intrigued by the fates of our bodies. First Cut is his account of

Overview

This book is a fascinating look at the body's intricacies. Writing from a humanist's perspective on a closed, sometimes taboo scientific discipline, Howard Carter gives us a magical tour of our unseen selves.

Ever since his own father dedicated his body to medical research, Carter has been intrigued by the fates of our bodies. First Cut is his account of the semester he spent watching first-year medical students at Emory University in Atlanta dissect their cadavers. Nervous, uncertain, even fearful, the students begin to course by cutting open the back and go on to discover details for the body's miraculous design, as well as some causes of its death. They finish with the puzzling key to the body - the brain - but also with a newfound reverence for the dead. From the immense cadaver they named "Nero" to the ancient corpses called "Little Old Lady," each dissection teaches the stuents lessons on the body's structural beauties, and the rhythms of life and death.

Editorial Reviews

Journal of the American Medical Association
The author has a clever eye for the intangible interactions between the students and their work. His writings are pleasantly inclusive of all types of laboratory behaviors, even seemingly inappropriate coping strategies, and of the myriad feelings present in the anatomy lab: sadness, hilarity, excitedness, fear, remorse, disdain, curiosity, futility, accomplishment-his literary talent allows the reader to capture his feelings and perhaps those of the students surrounding him.
Kirkus Reviews
Musings and observations of a literature professor with a penchant for things medical as he follows a group of first-year med students taking human anatomy, a course that includes dissecting cadavers.

Carter (Eckerd College), a bioethicist who volunteers in an emergency-room trauma unit, has a lively curiosity about the human body and how it works. To satisfy this, to learn more about the mysteries of life and death, and most important, to discover what happens to a body donated to science (his father had willed his body to medical research some years before), he spent 16 weeks with students in the human anatomy lab at Emory University in Atlanta. Two of the students gave him permission to follow them closely as they thoroughly explored an embalmed human body, and Carter at times became somewhat more than a mere observer, getting to poke his fingers into a heart and hold a lung in his hands. While no great insights about life's mysteries or the meaning of death are to be found here, the sights and smells of the lab, the sheer hard work of dissection, as well as the emotions of the student are all forcefully presented. What Carter notes about the respect with which cadavers are treated, and thus how his father's body was probably handled, is so comforting to him that he decides at the end to donate his own body to an anatomy lab. Interspersed throughout the text are 29 strangely beautiful anatomical illustrations from De humani corporis fabrica by Andreas Vesalius (1543), to which Carter has added his own explanatory captions.

Although its author seems to have had a grander purpose in mind, the book's real value is in its clear depiction of what medical students must do to learn human anatomy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312168407
Publisher:
Picador USA
Publication date:
09/28/1997
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
305
Product dimensions:
5.77(w) x 8.55(h) x 1.04(d)

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